ERASynBio first call: Building Synthetic Biology capacity through innovative transnational projects

(Nanowerk News) The Synthetic Biology ERA-NET (ERASynBio) has announced its 1st joint call for transnational research projects in Synthetic Biology. The call will be open until 26 August 2013 and represents a unique opportunity for Europe and the USA to build Synthetic Biology capacity through innovative transnational projects.
Together, the 13 funding agencies involved in this call expect to support around 15,500,000 € of Synthetic Biology research, which can be described as a multidisciplinary approach at the intersection of life sciences, engineering and information technology. The 1st joint call will address broad research areas within Synthetic Biology, based on the following definition: “Synthetic Biology is the engineering of biology: the deliberate (re)design and construction of novel biological and biologically based parts, devices and systems to perform new functions for useful purposes, that draws on principles elucidated from biology and engineering.” The projects could originate from one or more of the following scientific (sub) fields:
  • Metabolic engineering: Attaining new levels of complexity in modification of biosynthetic pathways for sustainable chemistry.
  • Regulatory circuits: Inserting well-characterised, modular, artificial networks to provide new functions in cells and organisms.
  • Orthogonal biosystems: Engineering cells to expand the genetic code to develop new information storage and processing capacity (xeno nucleic acids) and protein engineering.
  • Bionanoscience: Developing molecular-scale motors and other components for cell-based machines or cell-free devices to perform complex new tasks.
  • Minimal genomes: Identifying the smallest number of parts needed for life as a basis for engineering minimal cell factories for new functions.
  • Protocells: Using programmable chemical design to produce (semi-)synthetic cells.
  • In order to overcome fragmentation and to establish a true interdisciplinary research, proposals will be expected to demonstrate a biology-chemistry/or -informatics/ or-mathematics/ or-physics/ or-engineering interface. Each proposal must involve a minimum of three partners from at least three different European funding countries participating in the call (consortia involving US-partners must involve partners from a minimum of four countries).
    Moreover, applicants must carefully outline their main ethical, societal and regulatory implications and ensure that projects adhere to the principles of EGE opinion No. 25 (pdf) or the respective US guidelines for US partners (pdf). Project duration will be between two and three years.
    This call is centrally coordinated by the ERASynBio Joint Call Office, which is led by Project Management Jülich (PtJ), Germany. The funding partners are opening the call simultaneously in their respective countries, but the ERASynBio Joint Call Office will act as the central contact point for all project coordinators.
    Second call
    During the final year of the ERA-NET, a second joint call will be developed to address the strategic gaps and opportunities identified in the white paper. Additionally to the call, a parallel running joint fellowship programme will be implemented to promote mobility of early-career researchers between academic institutions and to and from industry.
    Source: ERASynBio